WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Wp Engine Acquired
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They was among the (if not the) very first business to provide handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Wp Engine Acquired
While they have a lot of competition in both the general hosting and managed WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the marketplace leader in numerous methods -and they have broad name recognition and advanced functions.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has actually become a super-confusing location.
I composed a whole post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the brief version: They all differ in services provided. Some simply have WordPress-trained tech support. Some offer services such as server-side functions and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a different level of managed WordPress Hosting where you are not actually purchasing hosting per se, but rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Basically, a Managed WordPress Hosting service uses a menu of services customized to WordPress at a greater price point, so that the website owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + performance.
Every competitor in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as an entire, they all compete with traditional shared Linux hosting offerings and personalized WordPress hosting options.
In either case, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s complicated, yes, however it’s important to comprehend prior to making apples to oranges comparisons.
There are a lot of WP Engine reviews online, normally with user-generated evaluations based upon anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine but I take a different technique. This review will take a look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all webhosting choices to see who it is a “best fit” for. Wp Engine Acquired
I have actually used WP Engine for various tasks considering that 2012. I don’t utilize them for my primary sites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine review structured as advantages and disadvantages.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business discussed. All information & opinion is based on my experience as a paying customer or expert to a paying consumer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does basically live up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “stunning speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Wp Engine Acquired
Speed and Performance
There are a great deal of variables that enter into website speed, but the guideline is that the more complicated your website is, the more complex the services to speed become.
From package, WordPress is fairly lean and quick. If you are running a primarily text site with a few standard plugins and a couple of small images, you’ll be fine with an affordable shared hosting strategy from someone like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s generally extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, kinds and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to decrease your WordPress install.
However a slow site does not indicate that you require a larger, much better server. It does indicate that you need to get smarter about speed. Often it’s as basic as getting a more powerful server, however often it’s more about caching specific resources in a specific order and enhancing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Envision you are attempting to haul a trailer with a pickup truck. Envision your trailer keeps getting much heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not big enough when you may just need to eliminate the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, refresh the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs help to remain quick as you grow. There are lots of solutions … however either you or a designer must execute them.
That’s where managed WordPress hosting comes in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed concerns. They have customized servers with extremely aggressive caching and even advanced “stack” than a common webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will go into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Wp Engine Acquired
They do not even enable caching plugins on their installs because they have such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress sets up still do well on their platform since their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for one of my customers on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, extra scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Note the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That measures how rapidly the server returned enough information to start loading the page.
It’s good to have that type of speed right from package, and have it stay that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Note that the other point here is that if you are consumed about speed, you can get even much better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services since you are totally free to focus on speed factors that you can easily manage like image compression, usage of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they also supply international information centers in case your audience is primarily in Asia and/or Europe. Wp Engine Acquired
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Wp Engine Acquired
Client support has been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch because they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than an item (ie, hosting). It makes good sense for them to position a big focus on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Take a look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has actually grown & changed a lot ever since. They went through a stretch where they were getting a lot of criticism about over-promising on support.
That said, the tough feature of client support is that a lot of the judgment is anecdotal. Everyone has a story, but you never ever understand if the story is since they talked with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I point out in every hosting evaluation, the vital part is to see if a company deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I want to search for gain access to, systems, and understanding, all 3 need a financial investment of cash, time and expertise.
Based upon my current interactions and research, they are doing better hitting all three boxes. They preserve a range of support channels (consisting of phone for non-Basic plans). They have a quick, trackable ticketing system and are available all over on the website via chat.
Based upon their guide videos and substantial knowledgebase, they tick the knowledge box. Every support that I or my client has actually engaged with in fact understood the fine workings of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most remarkable (yes, this is anecdotal, but still) experience was a three-way call between my client, myself and WP Engine during my client’s shift to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to obtain on (and remain on) the phone, but he was able to adeptly assist us “flip the switch” rapidly in addition to looking after a number of problems (ie, submitting a non-HTTP sitemap and fixing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Wp Engine Acquired
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support issues,specifically since their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, accessible support (as I’ll show in the downsides). But they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Web. That means that it is a prime target for hackers & malware distributors.
However there is absolutely nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not a problem with all software application. WordPress has the benefit of being open-source with a very large community launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are relatively simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last 2. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll notice that even though security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things protect. Similar to having a deadbolt not does anything if you don’t lock it, keeping your website safe and secure is still eventually on you.
And like speed & performance, WP Engine essentially takes all those best practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep everything off-site & all set to roll back if something occurs. Given that you technically have an “set up” on their server (instead of an account), they tackle a great deal of security issues internationally on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security firms on code reviews in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the guarantee that if you’re hacked, they look after it totally free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary websites (knock on wood), but have actually helped clients who have actually been. It’s aggravating, tedious & a generally expensive scenario (even if you are using a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security team take care of your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Wp Engine Acquired
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up strategy is $35/mo and includes a single set up and just up to 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, reputable VPS (ie, your own not-shared server) for the same price from InMotion. And if you are just starting with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting strategy from Bluehost for simply a couple dollars each month.
Both which allow for more storage & more gos to (ie, generally as many as you can deal with) than WP Engine. I’ve run websites that have had 60k check outs monthly on a shared server. I have actually likewise run dozens of small WordPress sites off a low cost shared hosting.
But I’ll cover that rates disadvantage in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your own (or your designer’s) time, their pricing is amazing.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your setup can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s entire regular monthly fee right there.
If you lose any check outs due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t use a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your website down … then that could be WP Engine’s whole regular monthly fee right there.
Losing visitors due to speed issues or downtime costs lost income.
Furthermore, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to mention any personal or designer time fixing concerns.
Essentially, if your time is much better allocated away from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on value. As a managed WordPress hosting service, that’s truly their thing. Hosting services are a financial investment rather than an expense.
And that sort of value-based pricing segues into another pro for WP Engine, their focus on their core markets. Wp Engine Acquired
Like I said at the beginning, WP Engine isn’t really for everyone. There are 3 types of customers that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 types of consumers, WP Engine has a strong focus with plenty of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the very first customer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who wish to focus on advancement & design without dealing with hosting upkeep, and have clients who have some budget. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, launches the website, then hands the site over to their client.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little requirement for a continuous basic site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second client type is the growing website owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical growth headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and have to move to a better host.
They’re also developed enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automated migration tool & customer support to make that procedure occur. The phone support is a key aspect, especially having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The 3rd customer type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and desires a long-term platform that they can grow with. They are comfy finding out WP Engine’s distinct backend and intend on releasing a near-complete site all at once.
They don’t have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable functions, clients, and support that they can make guarantees and provide support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine understands how & where they are originating from, so many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push performance), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, etc.
This benefit is similar to WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this evaluation revision. Wp Engine Acquired
WP Engine stands out not only on current features but likewise on developing new, advanced hosting features. Every variation of WordPress 4 has actually presented new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to integrate.
Even basic web advancement finest practices have actually altered drastically considering that I began observing the industry *. WP Engine has actually created tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ marketer by trade. I understand enough web development to incorporate best practices into implementation & jobs with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the very best suitable for everyone. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are embellishment (ie, SEOs complaining about dev sites). And lots of stand since they just aren’t a fit for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some locations, they have some cons which keep them from being an excellent fit for some consumers. I do not use them for this site since I do not need many of their functions and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Wp Engine Acquired
All that said, here are a few of the bigger photo drawbacks of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they promise, WP Engine does things in a different way. And that distinction can be quite complicated– especially if you have simply sufficient experience with hosting environments to be hazardous.
Their backend setup has gotten better. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a standard cPanel hosting backend. Unlike many hosting companies, they likewise do not supply DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions are there, the distinct backend can cause some developers making errors varying from annoying redirect loops to replicate content issues to leaving the dev website available to the general public or simply not allowing the features you’re buying.
If it weren’t for amazing support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner clients than they currently do.
Like numerous custom-made platforms, it makes sense once you overcome the knowing curve. But WP Engine’s onboarding is very developer-focused & stays so exception-focused that they never ever explain best practice for the general user. Wp Engine Acquired
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually established my share of sites from platforms to customized hosts to cPanel hosting websites, but I needed to view that video multiple times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the right IP address.
Again, if you are in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a huge offer (once you surpass the learning curve). However for the majority of, you’ll likely get to find out first hand about WP Engine’s support team.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a myriad of site lists to help repair all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will simply take care of it all.
But, you still do not get to set & forget your site. Sure, you don’t technically don’t need to get into the weeds of a server panel. In many hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t need to do it anyway, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Wp Engine Acquired
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both methods regards to decreasing & increasing complexity.
This con is likewise connected to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture along with possible, all the installs on their platform need to be rather consistent.
They have to have foreseeable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; foreseeable use cases. Every hosting business has guidelines (or extremely real physical limits), however WP Engine goes a bit further to specify exactly what you can and cannot have on your WordPress install in addition to tiered overage pricing to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and regional storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for good reasons, but those bans limit flexibility and experimentation if your site could manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource intensive, however on smaller websites, it does the job well. It’s not permitted on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and available to experimentation compared to running a shared or VPS server.
The way their pricing is structured enables less flexibility also. It’s a favorable that they will deal with all the traffic you can send out, however it’s also costly to pay based on a number of visits.
If you are running a big launch; are a seasonal service; or simply want to drive a surge of traffic to your website, you’ll have to factor additional hosting bills into the mix. That puts a cap on how versatile you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can handle a lot more traffic than WP Engine would allow on a Personal or Organisation. And this point goes further if your website needs many plugins for full functionality.
The exact same chooses storage. With WP Engine, you are paying for performance, not for storage. So if you are wanting to use a server for media storage … that utilize case is out.
Additionally, you cannot actually do automatic email marketing projects from WP Engine. This was something that my client got called for & wound up having to do an unpleasant migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In either case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their pricing based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are typically spending for performance & not having to think too much about upkeep, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s prices based on the functions you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyhow (ie, keeping WordPress updated and usually visiting regularly), you’ll likely be spending for “management” that is unneeded. Wp Engine Acquired
Lots of shared hosting servers can handle the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a portion of the cost. My individual website (running on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with basic caching) handled more than 15,000 visits in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are relatively transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be quite a surprise for “little” website owners how rapidly they can enter into the $290 monthly tier.
And as discussed earlier that doesn’t even include a number of the functions you do not get with WP Engine’s strategies. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on local storage. Anything above the limitations needs extra costs & technical execution of Amazon cloud services.
And most significantly for me, you are restricted on your installs. If you have a couple of side projects or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You cannot use them to expand the expense of your plan,especially if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are wanting to spend for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & provide your website files, WP Engine is a pricey alternative, especially compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best total, but exactly what is best for you based on your objectives, budget, resources & routines.
If you are in what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer a great service with a solid item. Their rates is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting space, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” strategies from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unrivaled for savvy DIYers, WordPress site developers and/or high-traffic websites that do not wish to fret about hosting concerns.
If handled hosting is a fit for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s plans here.
They do a 60-day money-back assurance. So do a test install and see exactly what you consider their backend. Make sure to chat w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & want more freedom/ much better rates than WP Engine, have a look at InMotion Hosting’s VPS option. I’ve valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive client service.
And lastly, if you are more baffled than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these factors into an enjoyable, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to simplify things. Wp Engine Acquired